How to know if you are obese rather than only overweight

How to know if you are obese rather than only overweight

what are some treatments for obesity?

How to know if you are obese rather than only overweight

This is an urgent question. We are amid an epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide obesity has doubled just since 2019!

You may wonder whether you (or a loved one) are part of that epidemic and, if so, what I can do about it.

The basic answer to, “What is obesity?” is that you are obese if you have enough extra body fat that it causes greater than normal risks, serious health problems, disability and shorter than normal life expectancy. There’s no disagreement about this.

The practical question is: how much excess body fat is that? The experts disagree. There may be no one criterion that selects all who are obese and only those who are obese.

There are four ways that are commonly used to diagnose obesity. In effect, each is a practical answer. “What is obesity?” Let’s briefly review each of the four answers to “What is obesity?” If you are obese, you will need to plan how to proceed.

What is obesity: Answer one

  • The first answer to what is obesity is based on the results of an unprejudiced physical examination by an expert. Since, when we look at ourselves, we tend to view ourselves through the distorting lens of our self-image, it’s difficult to look at ourselves in an unprejudiced way.
  • An expert might be your licensed medical professional or a knowledgeable friend. He or she may be able to tell simply by looking at you whether you are obese, overweight, or normal.
  • This is a subjective process.
  • At least if insurance doesn’t pay for an examination by a professional, paying for it can be somewhat costly and, of course, any examination will take some time.

What is obesity: Answer two

  • This answer to what is obesity is based on some percentage of your actual body fat.
  • Since females naturally carry more body fat than males, the percentage will depend upon whether you are male or female. What the exact percentage is (for example, 30% for males and 35% for females) is a matter of dispute.
  • You can estimate your own percentage of body fat at home using inexpensive plastic calipers and a skinfold test (which is what I do).
  • You can purchase other tests that are more accurate such as hydrostatic underwater weighing, DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), BodPod or BodyMetrix.
  • This procedure is individualized and objective, but there is an issue about what the percentages should be.
  • You can get a rough answer the next time you go swimming. If you are lean, you may tend to sink like a stone. If you are obese, you may have a difficult time getting far under the surface of the water.

What is obesity: Answer three

  • This answer to what is obesity is based on your Body Mass Index [BMI] number. If it’s 30 or above, you are obese. If it’s 40 or above, you are morbidly obese. This is the most popular method used today.
  • It’s also free. Just multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and divide that number by your height measured in inches squared.
  • (Alternatively, take your weight measured in kilograms and divide that number by your height measured in meters squared.)
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight. 18.5 to 24.9 is normal. 18.49 and below is underweight.
  • More strictly, some authorities will consider you obese if your BMI is 25 or above.
  • Unfortunately, this method is unsuitable for some individuals. For example, it will give false positives for muscular athletes who have a low percentage of body fat.
  • Nevertheless, it is a common, useful method for many people.

What is obesity: Answer four

  • This answer to what is obesity is based on tables that come from statistics compiled over the years by various organizations including the U. S. Army and the U. S. National Center for Health Statistics.
  • The most popular tables come from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. They give a range of ideal body weights based on height and whether you have a small, medium, or large frame.
  • You are obese if you weigh 20% more than your ideal weight.Since the tables are free and easy to use, they are helpful – especially if combined with your BMI number.

What to do if you are obese

If your answer to “What is obesity?” troubles you, we suggest what you not do is to panic or despair.


Obesity is a condition with causes. It never just happens. So learn from us about the causes of obesity and the obesity cure.

Please don’t react blindly by, for example, adopting a starvation diet. They simply don’t work. While starvation diets can work to lose fat initially, none of them work to keep fat off.

This explains why the 5 year success rate with respect to obesity is so low: 1 in 50.

Please start by educating yourself. Get the facts.

Here’s an important one: it is more difficult to keep lost fat off than it is to lose it in the first place. If you have been ignoring this one, by itself it might explain what has been happening to you if you have been riding the weigh roller coaster.

You can be one of those 2% who are winners only if you replace confusion with understanding the big picture.

Furthermore, you never need to endure the hunger created by enduring a starvation diet!

We are here to help you.

  1. We help you to think through a balanced nutritional program, which is one that will enable you to attain a more healthful weight naturally and sustain it. Exercise can really help, too. If you are able to exercise, we provide step by step instructions how to do it.
  2. When constructing your plan, be sure to get assistance from your physician or other medical advisor.
  3. Then test the plan. See what works well for you.


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